Golf is coming to Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg.
But not to worry.
Long drives won't be puncturing windows in the tony shops and condominiums that line the street. Nor will slices and hooks pummel pedestrians. This is small golf. Very small.
The MiniARTure Golf Course opens Saturday in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg in conjunction with its current exhibition, "The Art of Golf." Six putting holes designed by area architects and artists will occupy the green space north of the museum's Hazel Hough Wing. All are about 15 feet long, with quirky details and interesting challenges that also seem to circumvent many of the visual cliches associated with the down-sized version of golf.
Consider, for example, the par-2 hole titled Honey I shrunk the Golfer by Immersed Design Studio. It features an oversize wedge and a golf ball perched on a tee standing about 5 feet tall, planted in artificial turf, plus a sand trap (gotta have one).
To score a hole-in-one, players putt under the big ball and over the wedge, then across the trap to sink the shot before it hits a backstop painted with a mural merging the Tampa and St. Petersburg skylines. If players make the shot with one stroke, they can sign the ball.
"We did the mural with both skylines because we liked the idea that everyone is trying to make this area one region," said Matt Fergeson, who designed the hole with his business partner, Emerson Prosser. "I was so happy to be involved with the museum, to help them out."
Fergeson, 29, is a 2007 graduate of the University of South Florida School of Architecture and works at a Tampa firm that he says is "strictly commercial." He and Emerson formed IDS as something "fun" to do in their spare time and this, Fergeson said, is their first real project.
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Like everyone else, they received a modest reimbursement from the museum that didn't cover the costs, said Anna Glenn, the museum's curator of public programs.
"They all have donated quite a bit," she said.
"We had a lot of help, specifically from our parents, who contributed some money, and from our friends who helped with the fabrication and painting," Fergeson said.
They had to create a drill bit, for example, that would simulate the dimples in the ball, which is carved from Styrofoam.
The course will stay in place through Feb. 17 and after that, Fergeson hopes, if it hasn't suffered too much wear and tear, it will find a home somewhere else.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.